Monday, 22 November 2021
This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Acts 2:32
The previous verse noted that David “spoke concerning the resurrection of Christ.” Peter now directly states this prophecy is fulfilled, saying, “This Jesus.” It is who he openly proclaimed in verse 2:22, after which he explained the events leading to his citing of the psalm –
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.” Acts 2:22-24
With his subject clearly understood to be “This Jesus,” he now repeats the fact stated in verse 2:24, saying, “God has raised up.” The repetition is to demonstrate that what he had claimed is perfectly in line with the prophecy of David. And more, for emphasis, he used the verb form of the noun used in the previous verse –
Concerning the resurrection (anastasis) of the Christ
God has raised (anistémi) up
The mental idea conveyed to the ears of the people would be, “David spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, and God resurrected Christ, who is JESUS.” It is of this amazing event that Peter next says, “of which we are all witnesses.”
These words certainly extend beyond the thought of that stated concerning the selection of a replacement for Judas –
“Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” Acts 1:21, 22
The apostles’ office was specifically to proclaim what they had seen, bearing witness to the events as a united group. This is noted, for example, in Acts 8:1 –
“At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”
Because of the office, the apostles remained together while all the others were scattered. Understanding this, Peter’s words now that “we are all witnesses” is most likely speaking of whatever size of group of disciples were gathered and upon whom had been poured out the Holy Spirit. As there were more than twelve languages identified by Luke, it is probable that it was a gathering of all of the disciples, and Peter is referring to all of them.
Be it twelve, one hundred and twenty, or more, the matter is legally established before the people with his words. Deuteronomy 19:15 set the standard for witnesses in any testimony concerning iniquity or sin as “two or three witnesses.” That became the standard for any testimony in Israel. Jesus noted that to the Pharisees in John 8:17 because it was a clearly accepted provision among the people.
Therefore, the matter of the resurrection is clearly established through the multiple witnesses standing before the people.
Life application: The Bible is the written record of what has occurred in redemptive history. It details God’s workings in and through Christ in order to reconcile us to Himself. Is it reliable? If you are unsure, it is incumbent upon you to verify it in your own mind. Or, if you are challenged by someone as to why you believe it, can you defend your faith? Even if you cannot, if someone challenges you, the onus is on that person to make his claims for or against the word.
This was the case with Simon Greenleaf. He was a non-believer, but he was one of the greatest legal minds in history. He was a principal founder of Harvard law school. At one point, he was challenged by a student to look at the gospels from a legal standpoint.
As an intellectually honest person, he took the challenge, setting aside any presuppositions or biases. In doing so, he came to the conclusion that the gospels hold the topmost weight of legal accuracy. His basis for this was that “Every document, apparently ancient, coming from the proper repository or custody, and bearing on its face no evident marks of forgery, the law presumes to be genuine, and devolves on the opposing party the burden of proving it to be otherwise.”
His conclusion was that the gospels bore this stamp of authenticity and were, in fact, what they claimed to be. As such, he states –
“The foundation of our belief is a basis of fact - the fact of the birth, ministry, miracles, death, resurrection by the Evangelists as having actually occurred, within their own personal knowledge it was therefore impossible that they could have persisted in affirming the truths they have narrated, had not Jesus actually rose from the dead, and had they not known this fact as certainly as they knew any other fact.”
Simon Greenleaf surrendered his life to Christ, knowing that no legal case could suitably challenge the Bible’s genuineness.
Be sure of your faith by being sure of what the basis for your faith is. Read this word, study this word, and cherish this word. Be ready to defend it, and also be ready to challenge those who dismiss it. Implore them to be as intellectually honest as Simon Greenleaf and to do their own evaluation of it – to the glory of God.
Thank You Lord God that our faith, the faith we possess in Jesus Christ, is ground in a word that is reliable, verifiable, and accurate in all that it contains and proclaims. Thank You that we have the surety of the truth of Jesus Christ and His gospel. He died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again – according to Scripture. Thank You, O God, for the surety we possess. Amen.